Growing up there are cultural conventions, behaviors, even attitudes that are expected of us, often times in direct conflict with how we see ourselves and who we are.
What happens when, your authentic self is in direct conflict with others and society’s pressures to conform?Try as you might, you think differently and want different things and your round peg just doesn’t fit into that square hole?
And then what happens when you think you’ve found the match for your round peg, and you find yourself bumping up against a workforce that undermines, demeans and refuses to take you seriously simply because they deem you to be the wrong gender?What happens when the quality of your work is jeopardizedwithsexist attitudes, prejudices and work place discrimination and your job performance is compromised by behaviors and attitudes that thwart your success in your chosen career?
Diane Masura, my guest today on KOWS Wise Woman Storytime faced these challenges in her early and young adult years. But rather than succumbto feelingsof alienation and victimization, instead went on to create a fulfilling, rich, creative and inspiring life- one that brought her to Sonoma County over 50 years agowhere she has thrived personally, worked professionally and has been a quiet force and non-stop contributing member to our community.
Listen to her story and hear the wise woman lessons that we can all learn from.
Most weeks on Wise Woman Storytime, I invite an elderwoman on to the show to share a personal story from her life. This week, however, my guest is a he rather than a she. While my focus is still on putting the spotlight on older women and giving them the voice and visibility they so deserve, it is not lost on me that there are wonderful Wise Men; and today you will get to hear the story from one such man.
It’s no surprise that I first met my guest today, Shepherd Bliss at a political action about 4 years ago, shortly after I moved to Sonoma County.Although at the time when I was first introduced to him, his name sounded familiar, I was soon to find out that this quiet, soft spoken and gentle soul was a powerhouse to be reckoned with; a positive force for the good of the people; a steward for the planet, animals and the environment; and someone who lives his life by deeply held convictions; never afraid to speak up and speak out about injustices and inequities.
Shepherd is knowledgeable, informed, and a community organizer and activist. But to me, his greatest gift is the kind and gentle spirit that permeates through everything he does and everything he says. When you come from a place of love and connection, your light cannot help but shine brightly,lighting the way for others. That’s the magic of Shepherd Bliss……
I invite you to listen to Shepherd’s story and learn how The Making of an American Radical came to be……
I don’t think anyone can deny that life can be hard and challenging. In fact, it really is impossible to live without experiencing some kind of pain or suffering.
There arethe physical, emotional, mental struggles that we encounter in our various life changes. Some of us have grown up in dysfunctionalfamilies, faced or witnessed, violence, abuse, neglect and felt unloved and uncared about. We struggle in our relationships and career paths and at different times in our lives we may have faced racism, classism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, xenophobic…you get the picture……
It is the nature of the human experience to bump against all kinds of hard knocks and challenges.How we handle these bumps and challenges, the attitude we have towards them and perhaps, more importantly the attitude we have towards ourselves can make a huge impact on the outcome of the event, what happens to us, and who we become as a result of it.
My guest this week on KOWS’ Wise Woman Storytime, Marcia Singer has faced more than her share of challenges throughout her life. A creative, intuitive and visionary woman, Marcia has sought answers and asked questions about the dark and light sides of living. From her inquiry, she has created a unique philosophy and framework that she lives by and offers to others through her writings, workshops, and teachings.Today on Wise Woman Storytime Marcia tells her amazing story of how the deep trust in her inner wise woman, an openness to thepath of facing the shadow and a transformative philosophy for life has, as Marcia likes to say, “turns stressings into blessings” and“Oy to Joy……
I suppose if you asked most people about their childhoods you would get a mix of the good, not so good and maybe even a bit of the ugly.But what happens when the balance weighs more on the ugly? What happens when there are secrets unspoken and an innocent childhood is replaced with the contradiction of growing up too fast on the one hand and an arrested emotional and psychological development on the other?What happens when that unspoken dark past takes its toll in isolation and disconnection and a shadow is cast over one’s ability to live fully, happily and in community with others?
Research shows that the risk factors of adults subjected to childhood abuse are quite high. Physical and mental distress, weakened immune systems, illness, broken relationships, anxiety, depression, and PTSD are but a few of the issues these adult children are likely to face.
But all is not bleak. The good news is that it is quite possible to live a full and constructive life and the possibilityto thrive in life and love and work is a totally reachable goal. Taking that very first step and making the importantconnection between prior abuse and unhealthy adult behaviors is the beginning. Doing the requisite hard work to heal comes next.
Author, renowned speaker, and Research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work,Brene Brown said, “When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”
My guest this week on KOWS Wise Woman Storytime isFran Carbonaro. Today, Fran no longer denies her stories from her childhood. She has been on a long journey to heal her childhood traumaShe has been owning her past, and her brave new ending includes her original poetry, music and songs. She is here to tell her deeply personal story……..and as I say on Wise Woman Storytime, change the world one story at a time.
George Santayana said, “Those that don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”Seventy plus years ago, World War II ended and the remaining Jews still imprisoned in concentration camps were liberated. Those lucky and resilient enough to survive had the chance to get their lives back or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, start building anew . For those who lived through those times, bore witness to the aftermath, or have watched or suffered through other genocides, we must never forget what happened. We must learn the lessons so that we can mitigate the attitudes, prejudices, fears and politics that allow these atrocities to fester, gain momentum and happen.
While the Holocaust is behind us, anti-semitism and xenophobia are on the rise. We live in a world where “others” are suspect and hatred is passed down from generation to generation while some politicians feed and fuel the fires of hatred, bigotry and fear. Millions of people in Burma, Iraq, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria face ongoing peril and annihilation every single day of their lives. We live in a sometimes brutal world where misunderstanding at best and hatred at worst fuels international crises, aggression and heinous acts against innocent and unsuspecting people as evidenced last week in Paris and Nigeria.
My guest this week on KOWS 107.3 FM’s Wise Woman Storytime, is Frieda Ferrick, the child of Holocaust survivors. Frieda and her sister Chana became junior detectives early in their lives seeking answers to an often unspoken, and silent presence of something dark and sinister not to be shared. Over the years, the sisters pieced together what they did not learn directly from their parents. And so the story of Max and Sophie Lazar’s past was eventually unraveled.
Frieda has published two books, the first, Stories My Family Could Not Tell tells the stories that her family would not or could not speak. More stories are told in her latest book, Stories I Must Tell You. In this book, there is an emphasis on the resiliency of human beings and how healing is always possible even though scars may remain.
Stories I Must Tell You is a compilation of soft spoken, yet brave and powerful messages of courage, hope, love and resiliency. Through poetry, prayers, musings and even a short story, we learn about the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of traumas, and how healing is always possible. Healthy and productive lives can be had.
Stories I Must Tell You is a gentle antidote to a world that sometimes feels unsafe, scary and out of control. It offers light into a sometimes dark world.
We all know that our life experiences shape the trajectory of how we live, work, play and perceive the world. My guest this week, on KOWS Wise Woman Storytime Nina Ayin tells a story from her early adult years that challenged the status quo of her thinking and forever changed her views of life, death and everything in between.
Today’s story begins benignly when Nina shows up at the prearranged time to tutor a young boy. Yet the encounter with the older woman who obviously made the appointment and invites Nina into the home to wait for the arrival of the student, results in some strange and unsettling moments ultimately leading Nina on a life changing path to a new inner and outer world view.
Nina Ayin has a 40+ year career as an illustrator, painter, sculptor, Reiki Master and author. Her first book, Artist as Healer, Stories of Transformation and Healing is a book of case histories of her healing work. Today we talk about her first novel Bleed Through – a fictionalized story of her beliefs about life and the interconnectedness of us all.
To listen to Nina’s story, click on the link below.
Nina shows her art and teaches painting at Artflare in Santa Rosa, CA located in Building 33, Studio/Gallery #106, 3840 Finley Avenue, Santa Rosa
My guest this past week on Wise Woman Storytime was Lily Adams. Her story begins when she is a young nursing student in the late 1960‘s and agrees to join the Army Nurse Corp with the commitment that she will NEVER be assigned to serve in Vietnam. The Pentagon reneged on this agreement and in 1969 this anti-war woman was serving in a war zone.
This is a story about a dedicated nurse who cared deeply for her patients despite her ideological differences with the war machine. While a story that begins over 4 decades ago, this country’s ongoing relationship to war and the erratic quality of care for our vets makes this story relevant today.
Unlike other returning soldiers and wartime personnel in previous wars who were met with parades and joyful festivities celebrating them and their service, Lily was met with an apathetic society and a hostile attitude. Warned not to wear her uniform in public, paled to the attitudes of the Veterans Organizations who shunned and distanced themselves from these war weary men and women.
Unwilling to sit idly by, Lily was part of a cadre of veterans who founded Vietnam Veterans of America who; worked tirelessly to ensue that Vietnam Vets would get the direct services they needed to deal with effects of PTSD; sought out researchers to study the effects of Agent Orange; found ways to support women veterans; wanted answers to where our POW’s were and what happened to those missing in action.
Today, keenly interested in environmental issues and still dedicated to anti-war policies and actions, Lily told us about the Living Peace Wall that was installed in downtown Sebastopol on October 6th. Located across from the town plaza, just west of the Rialto Cinemas the wall is dedicated to peace activists and those who have worked nonviolently for peace and justice.
Like many of us of us who find the mainstream media not asking probing questions and lacking in-depth and comprehensive coverage, Lily seeks her news and current events from the alternative media. Amy Goodman and Truthout are two of her favorite resources.
One of my main goals on Wise Woman Storytime is to highlight and put the spotlight on the extraordinary women who live among us – the women who we may pass on the street, say hello to as we enter or exit a store or very well may be our next door neighbors. I want to introduce you to these women, not only so that we get to know them and come to appreciate their stories, great gifts and wise woman wisdom, but perhaps even more importantly so that they become a mirror to ourselves, reminding us of our rich repertoire of stories, showing us our own potential and the endless possibilities that are available to us ,if we just shine that light inward and take a look within.
My guest this week on Wise Woman Storytime, Annie Murphy Springer epitomizes my vision for my show.
Annie has lived her life on her own terms for 70+ years now. She broke the glass ceiling in the 1950’s when she accepted a job as a civilian community liaison for the US Military in post war Germany. In the 1960’s Annie was hired by the city of Oakland to work with the city’s growing gang population with the goal of transforming these often intelligent and resourceful, yet illiterate and sometimes menacing men into leading more productive lives. And in the 1970’s Annie moved from the east bay to the town of Bodega in Sonoma County where she and her husband built their home – the very home that Annie resides in today. After becoming active in the Bodega Volunteer Fire Department and recognized for her community management skills, Annie was elected Fire Chief in 1979 and joined the ranks with the 2 other women fire chiefs at that time.
Still consulting, today Annie is a recognized artist specializing in watercolor. In 2012 she developed an educational video series called, “Wonders of Watercolor.” You can view these seven two minute video art lesson at over 300 PBS stations across the country. If you go to Anniespringer.com you can see a list of her upcoming classes, samples of her art work ,and information about the Artisans Co-op in Bodega where she and other artists offer demonstrations of their craft each weekend.
Annie has said, “I love to travel the route least familiar and most risky…….I welcome change and challenge, especially doing things I have never done before.” Annie still lives her dream and as she likes to say, “I aspire to inspire before I expire.” I think she is doing just that.
A couple of weeks ago when my guest became ill, I decided to use the hour to tell my personal story of how I came to create Wise Woman Storytime. It was actually perfect timing because September is the first anniversary of my radio show and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this momentous occasion.
My journey to radio host on KOWS.FM began as a deeply personal inquiry into the meaning of growing older. It brought me to a confrontation with a culture that reveres the young and dismisses the old and got me to look at my own fears, anxieties and hopes for my third life stage.
How my search for meaning as a self-described aging, saging crone took me on a circuitous meandering through ageism and sexism in a search for community, collaboration and camaraderie is my story today.
I invite you to listen to my story and learn how Wise Woman Storytime evolved into the only show that I know of that puts the spotlight on older women, giving us all the voice and visibility we so deserve.
And by the way, Wise Woman Storytime shines the light on our elderwoman community, but is a show for men, women, young and old.
1973 was a turning point for women across this country. Roe v Wade became the law of the land and women could now end their pregnancies in a medically safe environment with trained doctors and staff…….Pregnant women would no longer have to resort to dangerous methods and life threatening methods to self induce a pregnancy. No longer would women have to pay exorbitant amounts of money and take solitary trips to foreign countries or blindfolded drives to darkened buildings or apartments in questionable or remote areas to have this medical procedure performed in unsanitary conditions by untrained and often times unscrupulous people.
It is estimated that before Roe v Wade became the law of the land, 1.2 million women resorted to an unsafe abortion each year.
Today, 40 years later, in state after state, laws are being passed that are medically unnecessary and scientifically inaccurate in the name of “protecting” women or protecting the rights of the “unborn.”
These laws are chipping away at making legal abortions unavailable to women- particularly poor women and women who live in rural areas. And just like pre Roe v Wade, women are once again taking the matter into their own hands increasingly buying inducing abortion drugs on the internet and trying to end pregnancies on their own.
Safe abortion clinics are disappearing and the few that are still open for business, face a constant bombardment from hostile, angry protestors. Women and yes, men, seeking medical advice on contraception, testing and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, cancer screening and prevention, women related health issues and the 3% seeking abortions are often bombarded with hostile protestors. The anti-choice movement has turned its attention to abortion doctors attempting to make it difficult for them to continue practicing.
Today’s show will introduce you to the realities and roadblocks many women face in 2015 when they seek access to a safe and LEGAL abortion. You will hear Fran John’s very personal story of getting an illegal abortion in 1956 and you will see the painful parallels between pre Roe V Wade times and today. Unless we can turn this tide around, we are going to be witnessing a resurgence of back alley and self induced abortions. Desperate women will find ways to abort – legally or not.
We must remember that Roe V Wade was not the beginning of women having abortions. Roe V Wade was the end of women dying from abortions. Pro choice and the right of women to legally have a safe abortion is as pro life as you can get.
Thank you, Fran Johns for sharing your personal story and the stories of women from the1940”s to modern times. We must NEVER forget what our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and aunts went through and we must find ways to help our peers, sisters and granddaughters so they may get the medical care they are entitled to by our constitution.
Young and old must read Perilous times. As George Santayana said, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”